Belmont man accused on head-butting woman

CIRCUIT COURT — A Belmont man was ordered held on $1,000 cash-only bail yesterday after allegedly head-butting a woman during a domestic disturbance Thursday.

Gregory Potter, 32, of Greenleaf Court is also charged with driving after revocation and breach of bail.

According to complaints and police affidavits obtained from the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division, the owner of the Potter's apartment went to the Belmont Police Department at 8:31 a.m. Thursday to report the victim sent him text messages saying Potter was "destroying the apartment and damaging her property."

Two police officers went to the apartment and found Potter still there. When the victim spoke privately with police, she told them he had head-butted her, thrown things at her and that she was afraid of him.

Police charged him with simple assault and took him from the apartment.

Once at the police station, police learned he was on bail after being arrested for driving after revocation on October 9. His license was suspended in 2011 for driving while intoxicated.

Belmont's prosecutor asked for the $1,000 bail saying that Potter has 16 previous arrests including two bail jumping charges and a felony reckless conduct charge in Gilford in 2011 that involved the same woman.

Potter's attorney argued that he was not a flight risk and could live with a relative in Meredith. She also told Judge Jim Carroll that that he had a good job as a machinist and there were no alcohol or drugs involved in the most recent allegation.

"Does that make it better or worse," Carroll asked.

When she replied "better" Carroll said he thought it made it worse.

Inter-Lakes earns another NHIAA Sportsmanship Award

MEREDITH — For the second time in three years, Inter-Lakes High School has been named the Sportsmanship Award winner for NHIAA Division III high schools.
The banner, which will be displayed on the wall of the Inter-Lakes High School gym, just below the banner which the school was awarded for the 2011-12 school year, was unveiled at a school assembly Friday morning at which it was also announced that Inter-Lakes had won the Division III Hoops for Hunger award for raising the most money for local food banks at high school basketball games.
I-LHS Principal Patti Kennelly credited athletic director Jeff Cloos, now in his fourth year with the school, for helping create the atmosphere which made the awards possible.
''I've been principal here for 18 years and in the first 14 years we never won this award. Now we've won it for the second time in three years. It's a big deal,'' said Kennelly.
Cloos said that his goal when he became athletic director was to involve the athletes, coaches, fans and the community in an effort to achieve a balance between good sportsmanship and being competitive and said that goal was certainly achieved in the 2013-14 school year in a number of sports, including football, girls soccer, cross-country, Nordic skiing, baseball and track and field.
''We're the second smallest school in Division III and winning this honor while competing at a high level takes a positive fan base,'' said Cloos.
Jeff Collins, new executive director of the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association and former Portsmouth High School principal, was on hand to congratulate the school. ''The sportsmanship banner is voted on by your peers and reflects what you do every time you put on your jersey,'' said Collins. Coaches in every sport are given a form to rate every opponent they face throughout the year, assigning whether the team had positive, neutral or negative sportsmanship. Point totals are tallied each season, with schools in each sport being ranked and then combined with the rest of the programs to come up with a composite seasonal ranking.
Collins said ''everyone can take pride in this,'' and singled out Principal Kennelly for praise, noting that she had bought a cake for the whole school to share as part of the celebration.
Christina Gribben, guidance department director, said that the school has taken part in Hoops for Hunger program for the past three years, collecting money at all boys and girls basketball games, including junior varsity games, for the last three years.
Last year the school raised $973.44 which was distributed between the Meredith and Center Harbor food pantries.
''We hope to break $1,000 this year,'' said Gribben, who later announced that a special fund at the school was donating $75 to the St. Baldric's foundation for children's cancer research.

Late touchdown rallies Merrimack Valley past Sachems, 2-17

PENACOOK — Merrimack Valley scored the winning touchdown with 23 seconds remaining last night and sent the Laconia Sachems home with a 20-17 loss.

Laconia held a 14-0 advantage at half-time but a Kyle Chaisson field goal was all the scoring the visitors could muster in the second half.

The Sachems' lead was built on a Keith Schultz touchdown run and a scoring pass from Matt Swormstedt to Chaisson.

Laconia's record backs up to 4-2 in NHIAA Division II play. The MV Tribe's record is now the same, though Laconia plays in the North Conference and Merrimack Valley competes in the East Conference.

Next Friday, the Sachems head to North Conway to take on North Conference leading Kennett. The Eagles were undefeated entering last night's contest at Lebanon.

LRGH subject to small Medicaid reimbursement penalty for readmission rate considered to be too high

LACONIA — Lakes Region General Hospital was among nine hospitals in New Hampshire penalized by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services for what are considered excessive readmission rates.

The penalty, introduced in 2012 by the Affordable Care Act, is intended to prod hospitals into ensuring that when they discharge patients they will not need to return in order to eliminate unnecessary care and curb Medicare expenditures. A formula is applied to calculate the penalty, which amounts to a reduction in Medicare's payment for every patient of up to three-percent.

Lakes Region General Hospital was not penalized in the first two years of the program, but this year incurred a penalty of 0.22 percent the fourth lowest levied against the nine hospitals, which will reduce its Medicare payments to 99.78 on the dollar in 2015. With total Medicare payments in the neighborhood of $18 million, the penalty represents a loss of revenue of less than $40,000.

In a prepared statement, Gloria Thornington, director of medical safety and health management at LRGHealthcare, said the corporation is "proud of the record we've had with keeping readmissions to the hospital at a minimum." Since the standards were introduced she said that the hospital pursued "Better Outcomes by Optimizing Safe Transitions" (BOOST) and "Almost Home", programs aimed at minimizing the likelihood of readmission and preparing patients to manage their care.

Thrnington said that "for many of our diagnoses, our readmission rate has consistently been amongst the lowest, putting us in the top 10 percent of hospitals in the Unied States." She said that when patients are discharged, they receive a follow-up call within 48 hours and an appointment with their primary care provider within seven days. "This year's data," she said, "reflects new measures and we see this as a great opportunity to learn where we can improve upon our programs and continue to keep readmissions at a minimum."

The standards have been criticized for failing to adequately adjust for those hospitals, like Lakes Region General Hospital, that serve a disproportionate number of patients enrolled in Medicaid and receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), who studies show have relatively high readmission rates.